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Thread: USS Fitzgerald collision

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    Towards the end of the article, it was mentioned that the LTJG had already been punished by the 7th Flt Admiral via non-judicial punishment. I thought that once you received an Art 31, that was it, they couldn't court martial you after that. Or perhaps they used the Art31 as a vehicle to recommend a court?
    Yes there is double jeopardy in essence here. Although the first Admiral's mast was an Non Judicial proceedings. BTW that Admiral got fired shortly after.

    So technically not double jeopardy but maybe not fair??? I dunno? But I think considering the fault and deaths involved a Court Martial was warranted. We will see how the rest of the legal story plays out. Regardless at this point there is not much that can be done to set things right.

  2. #62
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    More proceeding, more convictions likely. Apparently CIC didn't spot the ship until about 1 minute before the collision. Everything points to everyone either being grossly incompetent or maybe just sleeping.

    https://assets.documentcloud.org/doc...t-Redacted.pdf

    https://assets.documentcloud.org/doc...t-Redacted.pdf

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlankDestroyer View Post
    Yes there is double jeopardy in essence here. Although the first Admiral's mast was an Non Judicial proceedings. BTW that Admiral got fired shortly after.

    So technically not double jeopardy but maybe not fair??? I dunno? But I think considering the fault and deaths involved a Court Martial was warranted. We will see how the rest of the legal story plays out. Regardless at this point there is not much that can be done to set things right.
    I wonder; maybe the admiral thought the NJP might be the end of it, while the JAG corps figured otherwise.

  4. #64
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    Question regarding the training of junior officers to stand deck watches....

    Is their training solely in the hands of computer based training and by commissioned officers or are the senior enlisted rates also involved?

    I know as a young Infantry lieutenant I had a 5 month school post commissioning were I was taught many skill by NCO instructors. Once I got to my unit my platoon sergeant, squad leaders, company supply sergeant, company motor sergeant, company communications sergeant, first sergeant and company lead medic all took a role in help train me further. It was respectful and I was in charge but they knew they had a responsibility to continue my training....that it was not just on my commander and XO to train me.

    Just curious how it is handled in other services.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    I know as a young Infantry lieutenant I had a 5 month school post commissioning were I was taught many skill by NCO instructors. Once I got to my unit my platoon sergeant, squad leaders, company supply sergeant, company motor sergeant, company communications sergeant, first sergeant and company lead medic all took a role in help train me further. It was respectful and I was in charge but they knew they had a responsibility to continue my training....that it was not just on my commander and XO to train me.
    That sounds like good practice, both for the military and the private sector. Unfortunately my experience is that people don't always seem to consider themselves on the same level, whether superiors treating their underlings as subservient, or experienced underlings treating the newbie superiors the same way. I'm not saying that's always the case by any means, but it's certainly not an unusual environment. Airlines learned long ago for example that a co-pilot must be able to forcefully exert an opinion or point out conditions that the captain might try to dismiss. An intimidated co-pilot (or bridge crew member) might hesitate to point out a dangerous situation if they believe there might be some repurcussions for doing so. Also, an unexperienced OOD might be slow to exert authority over a group of people they expect to dismiss them. I think it's largely a matter of respect or lack thereof.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebard View Post
    That sounds like good practice, both for the military and the private sector. Unfortunately my experience is that people don't always seem to consider themselves on the same level, whether superiors treating their underlings as subservient, or experienced underlings treating the newbie superiors the same way. I'm not saying that's always the case by any means, but it's certainly not an unusual environment. Airlines learned long ago for example that a co-pilot must be able to forcefully exert an opinion or point out conditions that the captain might try to dismiss. An intimidated co-pilot (or bridge crew member) might hesitate to point out a dangerous situation if they believe there might be some repurcussions for doing so. Also, an unexperienced OOD might be slow to exert authority over a group of people they expect to dismiss them. I think it's largely a matter of respect or lack thereof.
    That's a great point. I have seen this firsthand in the engineering spaces. I see absolutely no reason to doubt that it happens anywhere, including the bridge. The degree of danger being faced when this occurs most likely varies, and this was probably (I hope!) the first time it happened under these circumstances. Or at least had these results.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Question regarding the training of junior officers to stand deck watches....

    Is their training solely in the hands of computer based training and by commissioned officers or are the senior enlisted rates also involved?

    I know as a young Infantry lieutenant I had a 5 month school post commissioning were I was taught many skill by NCO instructors. Once I got to my unit my platoon sergeant, squad leaders, company supply sergeant, company motor sergeant, company communications sergeant, first sergeant and company lead medic all took a role in help train me further. It was respectful and I was in charge but they knew they had a responsibility to continue my training....that it was not just on my commander and XO to train me.

    Just curious how it is handled in other services.
    This is where the good Captain would chime in for all to learn as to how it was done back in his time vs today. Remember he was OOD or JOOD (can't quite recall at the moment) on the Constellation and had that story about making a change in course, the Captain going what is happening and countermanding the order, then losing a fork lift out a hanger door before realizing that DesertSwo was correct.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Question regarding the training of junior officers to stand deck watches....

    Is their training solely in the hands of computer based training and by commissioned officers or are the senior enlisted rates also involved?

    I know as a young Infantry lieutenant I had a 5 month school post commissioning were I was taught many skill by NCO instructors. Once I got to my unit my platoon sergeant, squad leaders, company supply sergeant, company motor sergeant, company communications sergeant, first sergeant and company lead medic all took a role in help train me further. It was respectful and I was in charge but they knew they had a responsibility to continue my training....that it was not just on my commander and XO to train me.

    Just curious how it is handled in other services.
    Junior SWOs now attend an 8 week course vice the 6 month course that was canceled in 2003. However seamanship is not necessarily the focus of this training.
    In recent years, there’s been a push to re-energize SWO training. And on paper, they’ve got a course for every level of SWO — all the way up to the commanding officer level.

    Young SWOs now get about nine weeks in fleet concentration area classrooms. Generally, these new officers report to their ship first and then get a seat in school within the first couple of months on board.

    But, Parin said, “only a couple of days are dedicated to navigation and mariner skills. The rest is damage control and other material division officer-specific training.”

    Another eight weeks of school comes between an officer’s first and second division officer tours. They are taught more advanced skills, but still, the professional mariner instruction isn’t what it should be, Hoffman said.

    That’s still just a fraction of the original training.
    Official Navy website here for the SWOC course.

    Yeah, IMHO that is not enough. Remember that the OOD on the FITZ was an O-2 directing a billion dollar asset at high speed in crowded waters at night. OJT is always important and at times invaluable, but one has to have a strong knowledge base to go from.

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    I have visited the Shiphandling and navigation trainers at the SWOS junior officer course in San Diego. The trainers are pretty realistic. The students are put through a variety of scenarios but that can never replace actual sea time on the bridge. These trainers complement OJT on the ships themselves. Ultimately the CO of the ship has to qualify OODs when he has the confidence in their skill AND Judgement. The USN also has ship handling trainers for entire watch teams on the waterfront led by former Destroyer Commanding Officers. This is where they teach "resource management" to ensure watch team integrity, and efficiency.

    Driving a Destroyer at night at speed is enormous fun and indeed challenging. thebard made this cogent remark earlier "Also, an unexperienced OOD might be slow to exert authority over a group of people they expect to dismiss them." SO a good OOD has to be a leader as well and his position dictates his authority so he has to exercise this OOD role. Not everybody got qualified in my day.... it was not a diploma mill....not everybody on the kids soccer team gets a trophy or participation award. Better to move on to something you were better suited for.

    I tried saying this earlier in different words .... but it is critical when moving up the bridge watch standing ladder from JOOW, JOOD to OOD that one experiences training from "experienced" OODs not just ones a few months ahead of you in the pipeline. Living through a variety of scenarios from a variety of mentor OODs is vital to one's development as an OOD. The Captain/XO is just not up on the bridge 24 hours a day!

    While in my day I had solid fundamental seamanship training before my first Destroyer, I regarded our third tour department head OODs instrumental in my development. I fear today bridge watching standing is just a stepping stone and a check mark on a list and indeed the art and wisdom required has been downplayed.
    Last edited by FlankDestroyer; 12 May 18, at 20:27.

  10. #70
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    Thanks for the explanation gang.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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  11. #71
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    The Navy's Surface Warfare Officer School conducted an interesting experiment. They tested 164 juniors officers on their first tour who had been qualified as OODs:

    Led by the Surface Warfare Officer School, officer of the deck competency checks were conducted on a random selection of OOD-qualified first-tour division officers (the newest officers in the fleet) in underway bridge navigation simulators fleet-wide between January and March. Of the 164 officers who were evaluated, only 27 passed with “no concerns.” Another 108 completed with “some concerns,” and 29 had “significant concerns,” according to the message, which was released by the Navy’s top surface warfare officer Vice Adm. Richard Brown.
    ...
    The evaluations raise distressing questions about the level of ship handling training junior officers get both prior to their arrival at their first command and when they arrive. In a Tuesday interview with Defense News at the Pentagon, Brown said the checks would be used to inform new training in development for young officers and that changes were already underway that show the Navy is serious about self-assessment and improvement...
    It's an interesting article that provides more information on what the JOs struggled with which include using and interpreting the radar, applying rules of the road, and manuevering the ship under difficult conditions. It also went into details on how the Navy was applying this information to better train their SWOs prior to deployment with the Fleet. CDR Salamandar is also discussing this article at the USNI blog.

    So the Navy is learning from these tragic incidents, hopefully they continue to pick apart the immediate causes but not stop there. There may be deeper institutional flaws that need to be examined. USN optempo is still very high. I've noticed a trend of shorter deployments that occur more frequently and it makes me wonder how it impacts ship maintenance, personnel training & readiness, and their home life.

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